Holiday Gift Guide: Mental Health Edition

By Kylee Harris

As the holidays approach, a lot of us struggle with our mental health. But let me let you in on a secret… IT’S NORMAL! It’s a busy time of year filled with stress and chaos. Seasonal Affective Disorder affects more people than you think. The shorter days and less daylight activate a chemical change in the brain that leads to depression. People struggling with chronic depression may feel an obligation during the holiday season to feel happy as for a lot of people, it’s the happiest time of the year. In reality, it’s really hard to struggle with depression during the holidays while everyone else experiences heightened euphoria. The overwhelming general happiness can make us second guess ourselves and activate us.

Whether you or someone you love struggles with mental health, it’s important to show patience and support. I’ve curated a list down below of possible mental health gifts for people struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder and other mental illnesses during this time. 



This clock is designed to gradually increase from 10% light to 100%, aligning with research that says: “Light has a physiological direct impact on our mood, which is why light therapy helps with seasonal depression”. Starting the day with healthy lighting has been proven to help lift the onset of depressive symptoms in the morning, especially during the winter. 



A more recent study, it has been proven that certain essential oils can have an anxiolytic, or anxiety reducing effect, which increases production of serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for mood, sleep, and other important body functions.

For anxiety, try…. Peppermint or Bergamot Oil

For depression, try…Lavender, Ylang-Ylang, and Frankincense 




A weighted eye mask has many benefits both mentally and physically! KindFace, a company that specializes in restoring both our mental health and our planet says: “Our circadian rhythm is a biological process that mainly responds to light and dark; add light and you naturally wake up, remove light and you instantly become sleepy. It is otherwise known as your sleep-wake pattern, which changes after a 24-hour cycle. Sleeping experts also agree that a dark environment is vital to dozing off faster and having an overall good night’s rest. Nowadays, we are exposed to more artificial blue light than when technology was not yet the trend” 

A weighted eye mask also has many benefits for Sensory Processing Disorders that help calm the nervous system, and help the individual become more relaxed inducing the stimulation of sleep hormones. 




Hopefully some of these gift ideas can help you, or a loved one struggling with their mental health this season. Remember that it’s okay not to feel okay! Talk about how you are feeling with a trusted friend, family, or adult! Just because everyone around you is experiencing happiness does not mean that you are obligated to match those emotions. Be true to yourself, practice self care, and have a safe and happy holiday season! 




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